Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life

SPEAKER SERIES: “The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf: Its Authors and Readers,” Prof. Marat Grinberg


November 19, 2023    
10:00 am - 11:30 am

Professor Marat Grinberg and “The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf: Its Authors and Readers”

Frequently subject to quotas and varying degrees of discrimination, Soviet Jews, still participated fully within the large society and had to abide by its rules… at times shaping these very rules from their professional and intellectual positions. Most were secular, with Russians as their native or primary tongues and with no or very little knowledge of Judaic practice, which the state firmly opposed as it did any other religion. Without spaces to gather or material culture to hold on to, cultural memory practices and thought were formed and disseminated on the page, often “between the lines.” Professor Grinberg will explain how Soviet “Jewishness” developed from historical fiction, Yiddish and Hebrew translations and Russian novels with subterranean context that remained in Soviet Jewish private libraries.

Marat Grinberg immigrated to the US from Ukraine in 1993. Professor Grinberg came to Reed College in 2006 and is a
Professor of Russian and Humanities Comparative Literature. He received his BA’s in Comparative Literature from
Columbia University and in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1999, and his
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago in 2006.  He is a specialist in 20 th  century Russian
literature and culture, with an emphasis on Soviet poetry, modern Jewish literature, culture, and politics, and post-war
European and American cinema. He is currently working on a study of the Holocaust in Russian, Ukrainian and East
European fiction. 

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With gratitude to Gloria and Marty Greenstein and the Rene Bloch Foundation for their generous support.

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